A homeless advocate tells us some of the homeless have made their way to West Des Moines. And they are panhandling at the entrance and exit ramps from the freeways. KCCI’S marcus McIntosh joins us from West des Moines with this story. Marcus… I am here at the freeway and Jordan Creek Parkway where we are told panhandling has been a problem…. not that it is not the only problem area. The council is considering an ordinance that takes aim at panhandling near the freeway entrance and exit ramps… West Des moines City Officials tells us this is the problem …this panhandler is too close to the intersection at the off ramp of interstate 35 and mills civic parkway… He did not want to talk with us…==========don’t YOU THINK THAT IS A DANGEROUS AREA TO PANHANDLE??? NO..NO…NO…I don’t WANT TO BE ON TV…=========But assistant city attorney Jason Wittgraff did talk with us about the danger this panhandler is posing.========WE’VE GOT A LOT OF TRAFFIC GOING THROUGH THERE AND SOEMTIMES THEY ARE STANDING IN THE MEDIAN AREA…==========West Des moines is currently without an ordinance to deal with panhandling. So Wittgraf went to work…and he looked around to craft an ordinance that would work for West Des Moines.=======WE LOOKED AT POLK COUNTY WE LOOKED AT CLIVE..THEY ADOPTED SIMILAR ORDINANCES AND WE MODELED OURS AFTER THIERS.=============the ordinance sets its sights specifically on aggressive panhandling and those at an intersection near a freeway exit or entrance ramp. City councilor Russ Trimble says this move is all about safety.==========IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. HAVE WE HAD ACCIDENTS OCCUR AT THIS POINT…NOT THAT WE KNOW OF…BUT WH HAV EHAD A NUMBE ROF REPORTS OF NEAR MISS COLLISSIONS.=============Trimble says this is something they have been considering for a few months…as complaints about safety and near miss accidents began to mount.===============WE TAKE THE CONCERNS OF RESIDNETS VERY SERIOUSLY IN THE CITY OF WEST DES MOINES…HERE ALL THE INOPUT OF ALL THE RESIDENTS AND TAKE THAT INTO CONSIDERATION when WE MAKE A DECISION. The first reading took place Monday and passed 5-0…the second reading is November third…if it passes without objection…the third reading will be waved and the ordinance will take affect when it is published…and that will be a matter of days. Live in West Des Moines…marcus mcintosh KCCI 8 news Iowas news leader.
OTHERS ARE PREYING ON YOUR SYMPATHY TO GET EASY MONEY. RUSH HOUR THIS AFTERNOON. WE FOUND THIS MAN STANDING A THE KEO WAY RAMP OFF I-235 IN DES MOINES. SO WHO IS HE? HE TOLD US HE’S CURTIS FROM TEXAS.>>I’M TRYING TO MAKE MONEY TO FEED MY FAMILY. I WAS MESSING AROUND AT WORK AND A CRACK TO READ AND I COULD NOT WORK THEN I HAD TO HAVE SURGERY. JUST BAD LUCK RIGHT NOW. CYNTHIA: HE KNOWS IT IS AGAINST THE LAW IN DES MOINES TO STAND HERE. HE KNOWS BECAUSE POLICE GAVE HIM THIS TICKET JULY 4. HE SAYS POLICE SHOULD GO AFTER REAL CRIMINALS>>WE’RE NOT ROBBING HOUSES OR COMMITTING CRIMES. I’M NOT A DRUG ADDICT, I DON’ DRINK, I’M JUST TRYING TO GET BY. CYNTHIA: MANY COMMUNITIES IN THE METRO PROHIBIT PANHANDLERS. THIS IS ONE TROUBLE SPOT WHERE MERLE HAY ROAD MEETS I-80/35.>>WE DON’T WANT THEM ROADWAYS. YOU HAVE HIGH-SPEED, HIGH TRAFFIC AREA. CYNTHIA: POLICE TRY TO FIGURE OUT IF A SO-CALLED HOMELESS PERSON IS HOMELESS AND NEEDS HELP.>>OR IS IT PREYING ON PEOPLE’S SYMPATHIES, WE’LL ISSUE A CITATION, AND TAKE THEM TO JAIL. CYNTHIA: MANY DRIVERS WILL NOT GIVE THEM A DIME. I DON’T TRUST THEM. I KNOW THAT TOO MANY ARE OUT TO BUY BEER OR SOMETHING NOT SUPPOSED TO.>>SOME ARE WORKING THE SYSTEM, PULLING A SCAM ON PEOPLE. CYNTHIA: POLK COUNTY STAFF PASSES OUT THESE CARDS TO OFFER HELP, BUT ENOUGH IOWANS ARE IOWA NICE THAT CURTIS DIDN’T LET A TICKET STOP HIM.